at the Boat House Bridge, we walked the extension
of the railroad right of way I explored the other day, down a long,
I think they said the neighborhood
spent two million dollars on this sidewalk through trees, bare glimpses
of the lake, creeks, darkness and light beyond, but no real view but
trees up and down slopes on both sides — and no breeze — till
it empties near the old trestle over Lawther by the fish hatchery.
Walking fast, eager to catch every possibility, I saw a cottontail on a dirt road that goes closer to the parrots home electric relay station where they gather, and a beaver dam just into the hatchery but no beaver. I know they're out there but I've never seen one. I've seen nutrea and a fox, possums and always liked believing in bigger cats.
Invisibility is a recurring theme. When the rabbit stopped on the far side of the road, under shade, it seemed caught up in that concept. I could see it easily, took a dozen boring pix of it, but it stayed there, frozen in time and partial shade till I was only a few hops away.
The herons, especially lately, seem caught in that same sensation, even if I can see them, they are, I suppose, to most people, invisible. A Little
Blue Heron in the creek when I returned, almost was, except I saw him outside the splotchy greens and sky blues before he flew to the center, not more than thirty feet from the noisy, high traffic bike and foot bridge.
Little Blue Wiggle-beaking Fish
Even when I'd look up from my camera, briefly, to lax my eyes and stance, it'd take a few moments to reorient to a little blue, skinny pile of feathers plying its fishing trade in the green bright chiaroscuro creek right in front of my eyes, and nearly invisible.
like time we walk lately, we find herons. Egrets, too, of course. They are — singly — all
over the place and bright white hard to miss. But herons
blend and tend toward timidity, although this critter could
be the same we communed with yester near Sunset.
Today's walk was at and over Singing Bridge, where either the largest Little Blue or smallish Great Blue heron flew off when I reached for my camera coasting into the parking lot. We used to only see a pack of white ducks there.
Bent Bridge Spider
We also discovered a 3-inch Garden
Spider on the Bent Bridge just south of Thistledown
Road, where she waited, face down along a beautiful zigzag motif
Invisible Yellow-crowned Night Heron
got within twenty feet of a Yellow-crowned
its face firmly in the weeds, like a head in the sand, pretending it
was invisible, may have been invisible
to folks with untuned heron radar.
Near Sunset Bay, where we also
saw one solitary coot, a Little Blue heron and the usual spare egrets.
jauntier pic of this same bird should be on the White
Rock Lake Journal soon, I've been updating this so often I've neglected
Little Blue on the left
with bigger Egret far
Both these birds stayed well out of our reach, leap frogging the shore line and showing off that fine Ardeidae flying form.
early. Very early.
So early it was cold. Not just cool. Once there, I set out
to explore the mysterious area across the creek where I've
been photographing herons for the last several weeks.
Turns out, it's an old railroad right of way, dense and wide but not deep. Only maybe thirty yards, if that. A steep climb up to the rocky bed, a few stray, rotting ties and overgrown with trees. Once I got into it, I didn't find a path got seriously brambleated, flesh ripped and bleeding. I'd wondered if there might be secret heron nesting grounds there. But I don't think so.
through the trees
It was nice to have a new vantage point of the area, though it was difficult to get my elderly Sony F707 to focus where I wanted it to. I brought it because it is light, and I expected to walk some distance. It was nice to have the little toy along. It still takes good pix, but compares unfavorably with the Nikon in so many ways.
It was, however, so very delicious to see, not optically, but the way the film sees the scene, manifesting the exposure I chose and could change for just the right nuance of color and contrast. Damn! I miss that in the digital Single Lens Reflex. On the Sony, if the exposure's wrong, I know it immediately and change it forthwith.
The only birds I encountered was an army of Grackle ladies who filled my ears with crackling while I was caught up in the brambles. They are the avian early warning system, and I must have been near some of their nests.
And a Black-crowned Night Heron in the creek, only about forty feet from the dam side of the boathouse bridge. My zoom would have been perfect for that, but all I had was the Sony toy, with its smallish 200mm zoom and measly 5 megapixels.
Mom or Dad and the
walk netted my first sighting of an adult Black-crowned Night Heron with a
juvenile. Maybe eight feet apart, which is cuddling for a heron.
One egret at the spillway, doing ruffles with its long plumage. Still. It's summer and hot and humid, even early in the ayem, although the TV weather guys promised cool — down in the lower 90s, they said with straight faces — today. Rain yesterday made me think the spillway stairs would be thick with birds this mornin'. But it wasn't.
Pink-nosed Ducks and Seven Stripey Ducklings
Anna I.Deed them as Black Bellied Whistling Ducks
Photograph by Mary Compton
not walk at the lake today. I drove there after the rain. It was up to
97 degrees F — balmy
for here, before, then suddenly clouded over gray with vertical shafts
of intense lighting and rain from Garland to Old East Dallas that I know
of. TV insisted the rain was widely scattered, but Garland Road from
one end to the other was inundated, and it is not a short street.
Sublimation - To transform directly
from the solid to the gaseous state
I shot steam rising from the broiled concrete after the showers, and watched it mist away. But I didn't photograph any birds.
My Mom did, though. Dad saw this
vivid family in the irrigation canal that runs behind their house,
alerted her and she got her digital camera, shot these amazing ducks,
sent me a copy, and Anna identified them as Black-bellied Whistling
Close Flyby by a Black-
crowned Night Heron
saw three juvenile Black-crowned
Night Herons (probably) on the creek up from the Boat
House bridge. And four adults, all on the other side of the creek, of
course, mostly out of reach of my 300mm lens, until this one flew by.
I pan every interesting bird that flies by. I may be
getting better at that. Focus usually only begins to participate when the
bird enters the trees and disappears. I have many photos of the backsides
of herons, making this unique.
There's been as many as four Black-crowned Night Herons on the steps at the spillway in recent days. Plus one or two Great Egrets and a Snowy.